The Stephen Fry Media Twitter Conspiracy

The Stephen Fry Media Twitter Conspiracy

Stephen_Fry.jpg Author, actor, presenter and brainbox Stephen Fry is a technophile of long standing (reputedly, he was the second ever owner of a Mac in the UK after Douglas Adams), and he’s also a major Twitter advocate. In an interview with the BBC, he propounds an interesting theory about much of the current “flavour of the month” coverage of Twitter:

If people want to announce their new this or their new that, they’re going “I’m not going to do an interview, I’m not going to sit in the Dorchester for seven days having one interviewer after another come to me, I’m just going to Tweet it, and point them to my website and forget the press”.And the press are already struggling enough – God knows they’ve already lost their grip on news to some extent. If they lose their grip on comment and gossip and being a free PR machine as well, they’re really in trouble. So naturally they’re simultaneously obsessed because they use it (as it fills up their column inches) but they’re also very against it. So you’ll get an increasing number of commentators going “Aren’t you just fed up with Twitter? Oh, if Stephen Fry tells me what he’s having for breakfast one more time, I think I’ll vomit.” They really will have a big go at it because it attacks them, it cuts them out.

I’d be the last to discount the prospect of media sour grapes, but I suspect a lot of the Twitter coverage has as much to do with (1) genuine confusion about Twitter’s usefulness and (2) the endless hype cycle that typifies coverage of just about everything, not just potentially threatening technology. I also don’t see it as a case of either/or — undoubtedly Twitter and its ilk provide new options, but that doesn’t entirely eliminate the old ones. What do you think? Photo from Wikimedia Commons


  • Twitter is NOT an interview tool. Stephen might be a technophile, but that does not mean an interview face to face can be substituted by a twitter feed. Utter rubbish. There is a place for twitter without question, but c’mon Steve, what other junk are you writing without thinking?

  • Twitter is good at what it does. That is providing another option for people to communicate quickly. But like email, other social networks, chat and (gasp) fax, it can’t replace face to face communication. I would think when it is used as a replacement for a one on one interview that, like email, it’s strengths are also it’s weaknesses. It has the ability to remove common prejudice and forces those using it to accept each other at face value … errrm.

  • But that is not the point, dear Typhoonandrew, it may not replace the interview from the point of view of the fan, but it replaces it from the point of view of celebrities that are sick of being interviewed. To reach all their fans through print media, they’ll have to give the same news to a LOT of magazines, but with Twitter, they can announce that: “hey mates, check out my website, news on this-or-that.” and reach a good chunk of fans, if not all of them. However, everyone knows someone on Twitter, and word gets around to “go check Stephens website!”

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